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Finding the Road to Utopia

Through the death throes of capitalism

By Bonnie Weinstein

Fight Back

Fightback!:
A Collection of Socialist Essays

by Sylvia Weinstein


Finding the Road to Utopia

Through the death throes of capitalism

By Bonnie Weinstein

To say the whole world is in crisis is not an exaggeration, it is a statement of fact. Not only are we on the verge of a world-ending environmental crisis, we are in a worldwide pandemic under a system of vast economic and social inequality. Working people across the globe are being squeezed by the same capitalist austerity program that is being carried out in every country, except for Cuba, whose austerity is forced upon them by U.S. government sanctions.

Every decision that is made by world capitalist rulers is made to increase their own wealth at the expense of workers and the environment—nothing to them is sacred except themselves and their private wealth.

They are parasites who have outgrown their hosts and there are no other hosts but us—the working class. So, they will continue to feed off of us as long as we let them get away with it. But it doesn’t have to continue. We do have the power to stop this downward-spiral back into barbarism or extinction. We have the power to create a paradise on earth for everyone if we unite together to create a socialist world of equality and justice for all.

Obscene wealth

According to a November 18, 2020 article from Common Dreams by Brett Wilkins titled, “Billionaire Bonanza Continues”1 which appears in this issue:

“Ten billionaire owners of ‘Delinquent Dozen’ companies have a combined worth of $433 billion. Since March 18, their combined personal wealth has ballooned by $127.5 billion, a 42 percent increase.”

To underscore that fundamental inequality in the age of COVID-19, a December 7, 2020 article in the New York Times titled, “Want Vaccines Fast? Suspend Intellectual Property Rights” by Achal Prabhala, Arjun Jayadev and Dean Baker about the costs of developing the Moderna vaccine for COVID-19 points out:

“…the novel technology at the heart of the Moderna vaccine…was developed partly by the National Institutes of Health using U.S. federal funds. Moderna then received a total of some $2.5 billion in taxpayer money for research support and as preorders for vaccines; by the company’s own admission, the $1 billion contribution it received for research covered 100 percent of those costs.”

In other words, we, the working class, paid lock, stock and barrel for the development of that vaccine—and all the others coming down the line. And Moderna, and all the other pharmaceutical corporations which stand to earn billions from the sale of the vaccines, pay nothing! Then they will sell those vaccines back to the government who will pay for the so-called “free vaccines” with our tax dollars. So, we workers already have paid twice for the vaccines—not counting the cost of our own health insurance—if we’re lucky enough to have it.

And what is the reward for
our sacrifice?

As one example of our sacrifice, according to a December 6, 2020 New York Times article by Christina Goldbaum and Will Wright titled, “‘Existential Peril’: Mass Transit Faces Huge Service Cuts Across U.S.” about drastic cutbacks in public transportation across the U.S. due to COVID-19:

“Around 2.8 million American workers in essential industries like healthcare, grocery stores and pharmacies used public transit to get to work in 2018, according to an analysis of census data by the TransitCenter. That was 36 percent of all transit commuters in the U.S. work force that year, the group said. ‘We have been the ones that have kept the economy of this country afloat because we do not have the luxury to work from home,’ said Mayra Romero, 43, a restaurant worker in Boston who travels by bus from her home in nearby Chelsea, Mass. ‘We have been the ones who have been risking our lives and exposing ourselves.’”

In other words, walk, bike or skate to work this winter or starve and be homeless!

You haven’t seen anything yet!

To point out another tragic example of the current social crisis, our children no longer have viable public education.

With schools shut down, very few children are able to learn completely on their own. Perhaps if they had the educational material at their fingertips, highly educated parents or free tutors available on a moment’s notice, and, of course, secure housing and enough food—children would be able to succeed and learn virtually. But now, they are on their own without even housing, or food security. They aren’t even able to play with each other in person. And many have no access to computers or the Internet.

Their parents are struggling just to pay the rent, the gas and electricity bill, the water bill, the garbage bill—let alone pay for health insurance, the Internet and private tutoring for their kids. And even though they may still be working at “essential” low-paying jobs or collecting temporary unemployment insurance—that income has never been enough to survive on.

And, of course, most workers can’t afford to pay for the things they need when they need them, so they must pay for them using high-interest credit cards, leaving them in lifelong debt.

All calamities under capitalism are weaponized

No matter what catastrophe befalls the world, the working class will be held responsible and will have to pay for it—be it climate related disasters, pandemics, wars—the capitalist class will find a way to make us pay while they rake in the profits. We get nothing but air without the need to pay for it.

Economic inequality is the most powerful weapon they have to control us—to keep us begging for handouts instead of demanding what is rightfully ours—all the wealth we work to create.

We pay for environmental cleanup, keeping up the infrastructure, the bank bailouts, the pharmaceutical industry bailouts, the bonuses for corporate executives and shareholders. We pay the bill to keep the White House in silks and marble.

Workers do the work and pay the taxes that pay the bills for the capitalists—the capitalists keep all the profits.

Capitalism can’t make things
better for workers

Capitalism can no longer support even a small, well-paid working class. Fewer and fewer workers are earning livable “union wages” or higher-paid professional and technical salaries. The money is flowing up, not trickling down. And now, with COVID-19, we are experiencing mass unemployment.

The capitalist politicians and their media, while they may acknowledge the growing environmental crisis—the pandemic, racism, sexism and economic inequality—never take responsibility for it. In fact, they blame us for it—we drive too much, we want nice clothes, new cars, cell phones, Internet service—things that make us comfortable. What nerve!

We are bombarded every day with the message from the capitalist mass media that we are lazy, ignorant and unworthy—they tell us that we are the greedy ones for wanting even the tiniest fraction of what the capitalists have!

Making the connections

It is clear that certain realizations are beginning to hit home to workers everywhere. Our economic system is unjust. Our social system is racist to its very core. Our wars are unjust and catastrophic to innocent people and to our environment.

The power of the working class

William Dudley “Big Bill” Haywood (1869-1928), a founding member and leader of the Industrial Workers of the World and a member of the executive committee of the Socialist Party of America, famously said, “If the workers are organized, all they have to do is to put their hands in their pockets and they have got the capitalist class whipped.”

This is the power of the working class. We have the power not only to stop work, but fundamentally, with the unity and solidarity of the whole working class acting together, we have the power to take the very means of production out of capitalist hands, and redistribute all that wealth to those who created it, with our intellect, sweat, tears and blood.

By democratically taking control of the means of production we can produce the highest quality goods built to last as long as possible and available free to all, instead of designing them to break down so they must be constantly replaced. Producing quality goods will ensure that we are not wasting precious resources on creating future junk to pollute the planet with.

We even have the power to stop war. Through unity and solidarity of action in our own interests, we can convince the ranks of the military—our sons and daughters—to stand by our side, to lay down their arms and help to transform the world from one devoted to war to one devoted to creating an abundant, peaceful, socialist world in the best interest of all life on earth.

Foundation of a materialist utopia

“A utopia is an imagined community or society that possesses highly desirable or nearly perfect qualities for its citizens.”2

Marx and Engels defined utopian socialism as idealism in contrast to scientific socialism3 which is based upon the materialist conception of history—the ability of the working class to transform the basic economic structure of society to meet the needs and wants of all—not just an imaginary paradise.4

I see utopia as a democratically organized, worker-powered construction of a near perfect world—an economic system of production devoted to satisfying the needs and wants of all instead of private profits for the few—a scientific, materialist and achievable socialist utopia.



1 “Billionaire Bonanza Continues as Workers Pounded by Pandemic, Recession and GOP Relief Refusal,” By Brett Wilkins, November 18, 2020

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/11/18/billionaire-bonanza-continues-workers-pounded-pandemic-recession-and-gop-relief

2 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utopia

3 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socialism:_Utopian_and_Scientific

4 See “The ABCs of Dialectics,” by John Blackburn in this issue of Socialist Viewpoint.